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This blog is an amateur photographer's attempt to show how beautiful the world really is. He is drawn to the colors of nature like a moth to a candle light. What are showcased here are nature's grand display of colors at sunrise and sunset, beautiful beaches and off-the-beaten track locations in his beloved Philippines, waterfalls and some of nature's great sculptures, architectural gems, and other views from around SE Asia that he was fortunate to see at one point.

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February 8, 2009

balinmanok: breakfast, beach, and shell pickers

Sun-kissed shores
Sun-kissed shores of Balinmanok

I was the ad hoc tour guide for day, and my first planned destination is Sitio Balinokmanok, a quiet beach a few minutes by boat south of our "base camp". My friends are pretty excited to see the shipwreck I featured in this post. But first we got to eat a good breakfast :).

Capturing the beautiful colors of the dawn after a long trip was draining but we manage to prepare a decent meal to jump start the day.

Old School Cooking
beats the hell of out gas stoves (photo by Buboy Eito)

Within a few minutes, our paksiw was ready. (Fresh catch simmered in coconut vinegar with a plethora of spices : ginger, garlic, onions, ground pepper, some fresh green peppers and everything in between). The spicy smell is guaranteed to wake a sleepy head up.

paksiw na isda (photo by Buboy Eito)

After that hearty meal, we readied our gears for a day of snorkeling, "photo hunting", and snoozing under palm trees - real hard work :D. (One actually does not have to go far in Osmeña to see a great beach. Right in front of where we are staying is an amazing stretch of fine white sand with crystal clear waters).

Our banca ride

A serene, sleepy beach front welcomed us in Balinmanok. Tucked in a small cove and not very accessible from the back roads (thats why we took the boat), its deserted most of the time. It only gets crowded (no, not Boracay crowded, not even close) during the Holy Week when relatives of the fisher folks come to visit.

Some of us went straight to the hammock and makeshift hut under the palm trees while a couple of enthusiastic ones borrowed some spear guns and head out to "catch lunch". As far as I can remember all they manage to do was scare the fish away. Our fishermen friends would politely smile later when the hunters bring home their meager catch.

A friend and I delayed our snorkeling a bit to wander down the beach. It was low tide there are a couple of locals picking shells and small white clams (called tulya). We saw a group of 3 siblings rummaging through the rocks. The eldest was complaining that they woke too late and now there's nothing left for them (even though their "slim pickings" could still amount to a decent meal). I could just image a large plastic bag full of shells if they had gotten there real early.

John gamely posed for us

We also met Nanay Pilar, a retired school teacher who spends her quiet morning picking shells. She chatted with us while we took a couple of "environmental portraits". She was a good sport even when our host teased her that she can be the next top model :). Turns she is our host's cousin. (In hindsight, I notice that everyone here is related - either an uncle, an aunt or a cousin).

Nanay Pilar
Nanay Pilar showing us some of her tulya

Its amazing how one can get these little white clams by digging just a few inches in the sand. Soon several of us where kneeling on the beach (just near the water's edge), busily shifting the sand and eagerly picking tulya.

Guess what soup we had for lunch :).
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Unknown said...

I love the first photo. Is this still in Pangasinan or where? I'd love to go there.

They cook the paksiw differently eh? and the sand color is also brown, and coarse? First time I've seen like those sands.


Lantaw said...

Skies, Yup its still in Dasol, Pangasinan. The sand in Balinmanok is what we call "aquarium sand", made of crushed corals and shells. It makes for a nice sensation on your feet when you walk on it barefooted.

re: paksiw, I don't know about you but thats a pretty standard paksiw for us - lots of vinegar plus a ton of spices. We cooked it ourselves :D

Thanks for dropping by.

Anonymous said...

si nanay pilar naman hnde ngumiti. it's her time to shine pa naman! :)

Anonymous said...

Wow, i love the white sand, and the clear waters, nmakes me want to go to Gumasa again, but then again, not now. Paksiw is one of the favorite dishes I love to have for viand but one thing I really cannot perfect as a cook. Mahal na nga ba ang LPG or wala lang stock?

Lantaw said...

Vanny, Nahihiya sya pero we really had a great conversation with her :)

Sheng, Sa Holy Week lets go to Gumasa :). Sarap ng paksiw, they are simple fisherfolks so walang gas stoves dun ;). Medyo remote yung place so hirap din magpadeliver ng LPG, kailangan mo pa ng 4x4 hehehe

Unknown said...

bro ayos ni fill light mo kay Nanay Pilar. looks like off board flash.

Guy D said...

Great pics, thanks for the tour.

Regina In Pictures

Catherine said...

Love that first beach shot...beautiful!!

Anonymous said...

naiinggit na ako sa mga lakwatsa mo ah. Am feeling couped up here in our office and you got to see and feel the sun and the sea:) anyway, thanks for posting this enviable place.

Louise said...

Between you and Lawstude, the Phillippines is my new dream vacation! Love this post. That beach with the clear, clear water is calling me!

Anonymous said...

nice pictures of Nanay and the kid. Wish I can go there someday!

escape said...

the beach featured in the fourth photo is really impressive!

ganda din pala doon. i should consider you one of the beach explorers! hehehe...

im back after a long busy break!

Unknown said...

Interesting post & nice shot.Thanks for sharing and have a nice day.

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh.. I love this one... makes me love the Philippines more and more!

And your blog and photography is exceptional! Big round of applause to you!

My World welcomes you here. Have a great day!

ms firefly said...

it's always interesting to meet the locals, wherever you go. :D
i miss paksiw. pinamalhan. my dad makes the best in the whole wide world. hehe.

Sidney said...

That is a great looking beach... seems like paradise...

Jane Hards Photography said...

This really is another world to mine. Fidherman we have but looking for totlayy different stock. Cute kids.

The Good Life in Virginia said...

absolutely wonderful post...the photos and all. and of course that breakfast is something i so would enjoy.
have a great week.

Unknown said...

I'd like to add your blog on my list. Can I? thanks...

re:paksiw again, we just cook it simply with vinegar, a little soy sauce, and garlic not much spices...that's it. pero lami...


Lantaw said...

Tracer, Mas mayo gid kung SB800 :D

Thanks Guy D and Catherine

My pleasure Photo Cache

Marites, Head out to the beach as soon as possible :)

Thank you Louise!

Dom, welcome back! Busy break? :). Lets explore more beaches. Water OX ako e, so I'm drawn to water :)

Thanks uncleawang

JennWasHere, Thank you!

Odette, Nami man guid ang paksiw pag pinamalhan :P

Thanks Sidney!

Thanks Babooshka and Erin

Sure Skies! I'll link you up too. Daghang variation ng paksiw, pero bisan unsang variation basta fresh fish, you can't go wrong :)

Unknown said...

It is stunning there and that's certainly a fresh meal!

Grammy said...

I love your world! Thanks for sharing it. I enjoyed the photos.
Have a great week.
Missouri, USA

Lantaw said...

Thanks Sarah and Grammy!

jc acqua d! said...

wow that is our place.... thanks for posting it for the world to enjoy.... i just hope it stays this way....a lovely fishing village! minus the resorts that would surely alter its prestine state. jc acqua d! dasol, pangasinan

Anonymous said...

Thanks for appreciating our towns pride, the caiman cove (tambobong and osmena area beaches and coves!) my only request is to please leave the beaches, coves, caves and Colibra Island as clean and prestine as when you arrived....

Lantaw said...

@jc - my pleasure. you are lucky to be from that place.

@anonymous - I always do ;), but I cannot say the same for some who went there after seeing the photos in this blog

Anonymous said...

Hello there, I came across your site from searching Dasol over the web. So hard to find info about this town! Maybe you could help me. Can cars pass through the rough road on the way? And also, where did you stay? Are there accomodations on any of the islands If possible, kindly give me a contact number. I really wanna come and visit Dasol!

Lantaw said...

@Anonymous: you can email me at aebarredo[at]gmail.com. it'll be faster to give information via email :)

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